Original Watercolor Painting of Commodore David Porter by William Russel Birch (1755-1834) - Signed “W. Birch”
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c. 1815 William Russel Birch (1755-1834), Watercolor Painting of “Commodore David Porter,” (Baltimore, MD), Choice Extremely Fine.
Signed “W. Birch,” measuring 4” x 3” image size upon tan paper, within a simple wood frame under glass to 6” x 4.8”. This attractive, well executed Watercolor features blue, gold, brown, green, and pink highlights to create a bust portrait of Commodore David Porter in his naval uniform. Very painterly in its style, enhancing the handsome features of Porter’s face. A wonderful artistic example from the early 19th Century. William Birch (1755-1834), was a period artist from Philadelphia, PA. William Russell Birch (April 9, 1755 - August 7, 1834) was a miniature and watercolor painter, enameler, and landscape engraver and designer. Birch was born in Warwickshire, the son of Anne, née Russell, and physician Thomas Birch. He spent his early childhood in Warwick, England and was apprenticed to a jeweler, Thomas Jeffreys, and to the painter, Sir Joshua Reynolds.
He exhibited enamel portraits at the Royal Academy from 1781 to 1794. In 1785, he received a medal from the Royal Society of Arts. As an engraver he is best known by his 'Délices de la Grande Bretagne,' consisting of thirty-six plates of ancient buildings in Norwich, England and elsewhere, published in 1791.
Birch immigrated to Philadelphia in 1794. There he made portrait enamels of many people, including many copies of portraits of George Washington, after the original by Gilbert Stuart. He was also known for his watercolor works and landscapes. He was the father of Thomas Birch, an even more famous American portrait and marine painter. His typescript autobiography is held by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. He died in Philadelphia, aged 79.